Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Tag: That Single Life

My Grace is Sufficient

While I have been single almost all of my life (I heard once about a woman who was married like 13 times or something – that amazes me, as I can hardly find someone to go out with me twice), I did manage to fall in love once.  I don’t really talk about it here because there’s not much to say – I was in love, we didn’t work out, it’s still a sensitive subject.  You know, the stuff Taylor Swift songs are made of.

I mention it now because I’ve been having a hard time the past few weeks – rehashing things in my mind and otherwise torturing myself.  I blame it on Rascal Flatts. I saw them at the country music festival a few weeks ago, and while those guys have beautiful harmony, their sad songs know how to pull on your heart strings!

The point of all this, though, is that God is faithful.  Duh, but listen: over the last 2-3 weeks, I could feel my emotions building and whenever that happens, I tend to make a bad life decision as a way of dealing.  But, God knows that, and as I prayed that He would help me, He encouraged me in 4 different ways over a period of two days.  Between unexpected notes and emails, to an entire group of inmate admirers (a story for another day), God reminded me that a lot of people really care about me. There were so many random things in such a short period, I would have been foolish not to recognize God at work behind the scenes to encourage me, and that confidence boost was enough to get me through the weekend without doing something I’d regret.

Of course, I know that the high from a few compliments and out-of-the-blue assurances won’t last forever, but it was enough to help me over the current hump.  And, perhaps more significantly, to remember that God’s grace is always sufficient.  So, when the next hump comes – because, of course, it will come – His grace will again be available to me.  Circumstances and feelings do not need to dictate my actions.  I truly can do all things (even the really hard, emotional ones) through Christ who strengthens me.

If you’re going through something hard, I challenge you to look for the ways God is encouraging you. I know He is, but sometimes, we have to look for it.  And sometimes, we have to ask Him to help us look for it because we forget or are hurting too much to really pay attention.  But He will show you, if you ask.  Otherwise, what’s the point of His offering the help?  So, begin looking for the graces He gives us in every day life.  The struggles may not end, but the peace and strength to endure them gracefully and emerge stronger and more mature are always readily available to us.

Have a lovely, victorious, joyful weekend everyone!  <3

SB’s European Vacation

On Wednesday, I talked about not wasting our preparation/waiting time by complaining or trying to wish it away.  Today, I’m going to address another side of “waiting” – the seizing the day part.  Let’s go!

The other day, I had an epiphany.

I was thinking about one of my coworkers who was traveling to Europe with her husband for her anniversary, and I thought, “I can’t wait to be married so I can go to Europe.” And then a remarkable thing happened.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m 30 and have this new self-awareness and confidence, or if I’ve just been single so long, this moment was inevitable, but it suddenly occurred to me, “wait a minute, I don’t have to have a husband to go to Europe.”  I have the funds (Dave Ramsey would say I didn’t, but whatever), and the time now – why wait?  Plus, while I do think I will get married eventually, what if I’m 85 before that happens?  I may not be able to go to Europe then, because I may have married the nice widower in the nursing home room next to me.  Or, even if I do have my health, I don’t want to be 85 with no life experiences to show for myself.

This was a big deal, guys.  I think we so often put things on hold as we’re waiting for the next chapter.  It’s not conscious.  I was not NOT going to Europe because I didn’t have a husband.  I just hadn’t thought about it because trips were always in the “next stage of life” compartment in my life.

So, I’m going to go to Europe next year – provided I can find someone to go with me (any takers? Men need not apply, simply because I don’t really believe in platonic relationships, and I don’t want one of us falling in love with the other and ruining my perfect vacation). I’ve got it all mapped out, budgeted, and planned, and I’m determined to make it happen – with or without a husband.

What have you been waiting on to do until that next chapter of your life rolls around – until you’re married, until you buy a house, until you have kids, until the kids are grown, until your parents are in better health…  What if that day never actually comes?  Or, what if it does come, but then there is some other obstacle that seems just as insurmountable.  We don’t have any guarantees in this life, so let’s carpe diem/YOLO/insert other cliche here and make the most of the time that we have.  Life is precious, so let’s not waste it waiting!

Can you relate to the putting things on hold while you wait for the next chapter?  Are any of those things you could do now, but either haven’t thought about or haven’t allowed yourself to do?  Jump on board this adventure with me and let’s start living.  What are you going to do?!

Wednesday’s Woman: Esther II

I’ve been thinking a little more about our queen, Esther, and I think she deserves another post.  Not because I didn’t like my first one – it was inspired by Tim Tebow, so of course it was moving.  And not just because she’s a queen, although you know I love royalty.  But, Esther has a lot more to teach us and speaks to a place I’m currently in.  I suspect maybe some of you are, too.

Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that Esther was, essentially, trafficked and probably a very scared and lonely teenage girl.  We’re not told much about her emotions in this story, but I think it’s safe to assume what I said above was true (especially, since she was an orphan, anyway, and now had been taken from her cousin, too).  However, in her captivity, God gave Esther a friend in the eunuch, and he helped her prepare to be the best candidate for queen that she could be.  Esther followed his advice to the letter, and in the end, she was chosen to be the queen, and as a result, positioned to save her entire people from destruction.

While she was in this holding period, Esther could have – and would have had every justification –  pouted, felt sorry for herself, and completely wasted her preparation time.  She could have disregarded the eunuch’s instructions, as he was the king’s employee, and therefore, part of her captivity.  She could have been proud and assumed she knew what was best for her life.

Instead, Esther was humble and obedient and made the most of her time (12 months) of isolation and beauty prep (honestly, though – I would have a hard time saying no to 12 months of beauty prep).  She did not lie around in self-pity or try to take short-cuts to speed up the process – she followed through on what was required of her, and in the end, her hard work and diligence paid off in a major way for her, her family, and her people.

When I first moved to Georgia, I decided that I was going to treat my transition period (which has turned out to take longer than I expected) as a season of preparation, focusing on myself and personal growth – spiritually, physically, and just as a general well-rounded person.  Of course, in my mind, I was preparing for marriage – becoming “Mrs. Right”, and all that.  I suppose I needed more prep than most.

However, I haven’t always been faithful to focus on this growth.  I think in some ways I’ve matured, but in many other ways, I’ve spent a whole lot of time feeling sorry for myself and resenting being alone.  So, I’m challenged by Esther to change my attitude and make the most of this season as I’m waiting for the next.  One of my mentors always said, “preparation time is never wasted time.”   Really, we’re all in preparation for something – whether that be marriage, kids, empty nest, education, a new job – so, if we wasted our time when we should be preparing, we’d never be ready for the next step.  And, perhaps most significantly, as we prepare ourselves for the future, we’re bettering ourselves in the present.

What are you in preparation for?  Have you been a good steward of your time, or have you, like me, squandered it in self-pity or mindless/unintentional “waiting”?   I’m making a pledge to take some active steps towards preparing myself for the next season of my life, and here are a few of my ideas:

  • Physical goals: taking care of my skin and body.  I want my husband to be happy with his choice, even if we don’t get married until we’re 85 (an increasingly likely scenario) – I’ll be the most toned 85 year old that nursing home has ever seen.
  • Financial goals: thanks to Dave Ramsey, I’m super inspired to get my finances in order.  I’ve never been in bad shape financially, but I don’t really have much to offer a future partner (or even future me, for that matter).  With Dave’s plan, I’ll probably be a millionaire by next month.  (Or at least, have paid off my student loans).
  • Spiritual goals: to find my validation solely in the Lord so that when my husband doesn’t validate me as I’d like (I’m realistic enough to acknowledge this will happen eventually), my world doesn’t fall apart, even if only temporarily.

Those are some of mine that I’m working on right now, to become a better me today, so I can be a better wife (and mom) tomorrow (figuratively, of course, but I’d be okay if that tomorrow was literal).

What are some of your goals – do you have some practical steps to take to achieve them? Please share some of yours and let’s inspire each other toward greater versions of ourselves!

Esther pt. 2

 

Tinder Nightmares

The other day I met a guy on Tinder, and suddenly, last week’s Must Haves/Can’t Stands were tested in a very real way.  See, while this guy lives in the Atlanta area now, he’s originally from New Hampshire.  So, naturally, I had to ask him about Deflategate.  And, like any good Pats fan, he launched into a ridiculous defense that no one outside of the 6-state region of New England believes.

After about 30 minutes of intense texting on the ins and outs of the Patriots cheating scandal (honestly, it was way too much for a first conversation, and I was convinced I would drive him away, but I met him on Tinder, so whatever.  Not a big loss), I realized that I should probably ask him whose jersey he owned.  If it was Gronk, I was going to have to make a hard decision – adhere to my principles, or compromise on something so core to who I am as a person.

Fortunately, he did not own a Gronkowski jersey; Brady’s, which isn’t awesome, but I’ll allow it.  Apparently, I did drive him away, though, (or my living an hour from him did), as I’ve not heard from him since, despite him saying that he appreciated my “knowledge and passion” about football. I guess the truth hurts.  #sorrynotsorry

Speaking of Tinder, though, I heard on the radio from Ryan Seacrest (so it must be true), that 30% of Tinder users are married, and 42% are in a relationship…so, that kinda puts a damper on my favorite sketchy app.  Buyer beware.

On another note, Captain America 3 is filming in Atlanta right now (I know this thanks to a different Tinder guy who works on the crew – supposedly.  So, the app isn’t completely useless; it’s a news outlet!).  This wouldn’t be that interesting to me in and of itself, except that I am going to that music festival this weekend…and according to one of the country radio stations here, there are tickets at will call for one Robert Downey, Jr. and….CHRIS EVANS!!!!  Y’all, I may be in the same half mile radius as Captain America himself for over 16 hours this weekend.  And my friends are going to have a selfie stick (not my idea, but with these current circumstances, I’m not complaining).  So, if I don’t come back, you’ll know I’ve stolen Chris away from Lily Collins and we’re blissfully happy.

Except he’s also a Pats fan…oh dear.

Deal Breakers

One of the steps in eHarmony’s guided communication is exchanging lists of “Must Haves and Can’t Stands”.  I’ve always hated this stage – in part, because it is just one more obstacle before you can freely talk, and in a free communication weekend, time is literally money.  But, I also don’t like it because the choices are largely so ridiculously vague.  As if someone is going to say on a dating site that they can stand dishonesty or cheating or that good hygiene is negotiable (real choices, folks). As you can see, there isn’t a whole lot to glean from these lists.

So, instead, I thought it would be fun if we made our own Must Haves/Can’t Stand lists, based on real life.  Of course, the ones mentioned above are givens, as are someone who shares my faith, doesn’t live in his parents’ basement, and works a steady job.  But, here are a few that may not appear as choices on e-Harmony.

Must Have: A car.  A working, 4-wheel, gas-powered automobile.  I’ll accept a truck (actually, I prefer it).  What I will not accept is a motorcycle as a sole means of transportation.  I thought my first boyfriend was soooo cool because he only rode a motorcycle – and then it rained.   I spent a lot of rainy nights pretty bored.

Can’t Stand:  A Gronk jersey.  If you’re a Pats fan in general, we’re probably going to have to go through some extra counseling, but supporting Gronkowski makes me not only question your judgment, but also your view of women.  Automatic deal breaker.

Must Have: An addiction to New Girl.  Or be willing to develop one.  There are lots of shows I love that I would not expect you to – Nashville, Once Upon a Time, the Bachelor.  But, if we can’t hang out together with my besties in the loft, it’s probably not going to work out.

Can’t Stand: Name dropping. I went on a date once with a guy who told me about Miss Brazil hitting on him in Starbucks.  Not only is that a weird story to tell on a first date, but from the looks of him, I’m quite positive that did not happen.  (Sorry, buddy, but it’s true!) The same guy also told me he’d met Tim Tebow out one time. You may never misuse the name of Tim Tebow (or Peyton Manning) around me.  Some things are just sacred. I left before I could even finish the second drink he’d ordered for me without my permission.

Must Have: Athletic skills.  I’m completely inept, but you shouldn’t be.  Think of our children!

Can’t Stand:  Swearing on a first date (or worse, before the first date).  Honestly, swearing isn’t that big a deal to me.  I mean, most of the guys I’ve dated were in the military, so it kinda goes with the territory.  But, if you can’t even keep your mouth clean when you’re trying to make a good impression, what am I going to have to listen to 6 months from now when the newness has worn off? It seems disrespectful to me to use it before you even know whether it offends me, and it’s impolite.  Plus, it makes you sound like you have a limited vocabulary (aka, stupid), and if there is one trait I value more than any other, it’s intelligence.

So, there is my list, honed after years of experience, yet, surprisingly, not choices on eHarmony.

What about you?  What are some of the more unusual must haves and can’t stands on your list?  Any that match mine?  (If so, we’re probably kindred spirits and should hang out more often than we do.)  Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Great Dating Site Analysis

I just read an article about Collide – the new Christian Tinder.  It’s hilarious.  Like Tinder, you swipe left or right based on attractiveness; unlike Tinder, though, users also have to give their favorite Bible verse, rather than a brief (or non-existent) description.  So, be thinking about your list of deal breaker verses now, people.  You don’t want to be stuck with that guy who puts down Job 19:17.

Legitimately, I thought the article was written by the Onion at first, but I looked it up, and this thing really does exist.  Unfortunately, though, it’s only on the iPhone, so this Android user will have to wait a while to get started on this probable solution to all of my problems.

In the meantime, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to review all the different dating options I’ve tried; hopefully, my experience can be helpful to someone (or entertaining to all).

In order of worst to best:

POF (Plenty of Fish):

I haven’t been on POF in several years, but the last time I signed up was because I had two friends who were married from the site, and one of them was a super cute blonde in her mid-20s.  So, I figured it had something going for it.

Positives: free.

Negatives: as with all free sites, there are a lot of huge creepers and spammers, and you’re more likely to get catfished (this has never happened to me).  Also, POF has a super sketchy reputation.  You can set your settings to filter out people who have solicited sex.  But, the fact that they needed to give that filter as an option is disturbing to me.

I did, however, go on one of my favorite online dates through POF.  He was very nice, took me to a great restaurant on the boardwalk, prayed over our meal, and looked like a more attractive Manning brother.  We had very little chemistry, so it didn’t go anywhere, but it was a nice date.

Bottom line: skip it.

POF gifChristian Mingle:

One of my besties just got engaged to a man she met on Christian Mingle.  I had tried it many years ago and HATED it – it seemed that every man wrote in his profile about a Proverbs 31 woman (I have nothing against this model of a hard-working, diligent, strong woman, but when a man puts this in his dating profile, he wants a Stepford Wife).  And one guy even thought debating about predestination was good first-chat convo.

But, when my friend got engaged, I thought I’d give it another chance; maybe it had improved over the last 6 years.  Christian Mingle is not free, so I reactivated my profile to look around and see if there was anyone who could entice me to pay.  There was not.

Positives: Most everyone will share the Christian faith.  You can search without paying/committing.

Negatives: A lot of ultra-conservative Christians, not that many attractive people, kind of expensive.

It worked for my friend, but my vote is that it’s not worth it.

Christian Mingle gifE-Harmony:

I’m hesitant to put e-Harmony so far down on my list because I think it’s a very legitimate service that has worked for a lot of people.  But, personally, I do not like it at all.

Positives: Matching system is based on something other than that you both exist (also, I really love taking surveys about myself).  Most people on there are very serious, because that junk is expensive (see negatives).

Negatives: Expensive!  While I have noticed eHarmony doing sales lately (I signed up last year for $7/month for 3 months), they’re generally pretty pricey.  And when they have their free weekends, you can’t see pictures.  Without fail, every guy I’ve ever talked to without seeing pictures has proven, once we become facebook friends, to be unattractive.  I don’t want to be shallow, but c’mon, let’s all be honest here.  Attraction is important – especially when you can’t see someone in real life to know if their personality helps.

Also, even personality wise, I’ve seldom really been into the guys sent to me on eHarmony.  I don’t know if I’m answering questions about myself incorrectly, but they’re sending me guys who I would never be interested in in real life (maybe this is the problem?!).  Unfortunately, you can’t search on your own in eHarmony; you get who you get.  And you can’t speed up the process either – they only release matches to you in batches.  It’s very controlled – and I prefer to browse on my own terms.

Bottom line: try it if you’re rich or can get a good sale.  Skip the free version, as it only promotes false hopes for both of you.

Eharmony gifOk Cupid

Free like POF, Ok Cupid is slightly less sketchy.  I’ve never been able to figure out the madness that is their matching system (I’m certain there is no method to it), but they do at least allow you to filter emails from people not in your search criteria to the junk mail folder.  Predictably, this one stays a lot fuller for me than the one with messages from people I might actually want to talk to.

Positives:  Free and slightly less creepy than POF.   You can search for people, and the matching system does at least help you know who you will definitely NOT be compatible with (aka, the chain smoking atheist in an open relationship).  They also send you super encouraging emails when your profile gets clicked on a few times, like, “You’re one of the hottest members on OkCupid!”

Negatives: still a lot of weirdos because it’s free, and anyone can contact you.

Bottom line: if you are interested in passing some time, or if you have the patience to sift through all the oddballs, and you want a free service, it’s not too terrible.

OKC gifMatch

Match is not cheap.  Less expensive than eHarmony, but also no free weekends or really cheap sales.  However, you can search without paying – and see pictures!  (You just can’t talk to anyone, so…)  The people on there also seem a little more committed than on the free sites, and the pool is pretty wide.

Positives: You can do your own searching, but Match will also send you people they think fit your criteria and are therefore good “matches”.  They also have real life mixer events for Match members.  I’ve never been to one of these, but I like the concept.

Negatives: The matching criteria is weird; often, I get notifications that, “Like you, Johnny doesn’t smoke.”  They also send me a billion emails, most of which I think are lies (I conveniently had 5 new men check me out 4 times this week exactly at 5:00?)

Bottom line: I really think this is the best of the online sites.  It may or may not pay off ultimately, of course, but I think it’s definitely the most widely used by serious-ish people.

Match gifTinder

Last but not least is Tinder.  I WISH Tinder did not have such a bad reputation (many people regard it simply as a hook-up app) because I really love it.  Every time I mention that I use it, I give people almost this verbatim disclaimer:

“I know Tinder has a sketchy reputation, but I really like it because to me, it’s the most like real life.  You see someone you think is cute, you start talking to them, it goes somewhere or it doesn’t.  You don’t analyze all these things they happened to decide to write about themselves.”

And I fully agree with that.  Unfortunately, I am rather in the minority, I think.  But, still, there are a few people who use the app as it was originally intended (when it was designed by Mormons.  True story.) as a way to meet people close to you who are already interested, at least on some basic level.

Positives: Quick, free, easy, efficient, fastest way to a date (you’ll probably not send emails back and forth forever.  It’s messaging to texting to a date in usually less than a week, I’ve found).  Because people have to mutually express interest in order to even talk, it weeds out people not in my search criteria (aka, distance and age range), as well as obvious creepers (gym selfie takers are automatically dismissed).

Negatives: There are a lot of people on there just to hook up.  And, when you discuss it, people may initially judge you (feel free to use my disclaimer).  Also, because there is really little or no description, you don’t have the opportunity to eliminate any very good-looking people with whom you do not share core values, so it can lead to disappointing dead ends (or regrettable compromises).

Bottom line: Use good judgment, but it’s a fun, easy, modern way to get to know people.

Tinder gifOf course, we all still want to meet someone in real life.  That story just seems more romantic, and although the taboo of online dating has certainly diminished, I don’t think kids are yet dreaming of the day they will log on to a computer and meet their future spouse.  But, the reality is that our world is online.  So, if/when you venture into the crazy world that is cyber dating (or re-venture, if you’ve, like me, tried and given up multiple times), hopefully my guide will help you.  But, feel free to completely disregard it, as I’m sure almost all of us can find both a huge success and an utter failure story for each of these sites.

Happy hunting, everyone!  Enjoy your weekend, and leave me some comments if you’ve tried any of these sites.  How do you think my rankings are?  Would you add any others to the list?  Let’s swap stories!

Who Am I?

To round out the week of Tim Tebow, here is one last blog post based on his message (since it’s a good point and since I don’t ever want to forget anything he said).

How do you define yourself and find your value?

I’ll be honest, this is something I’ve struggled with for years.  I know the Christian answer is, “I’m a child of God,” and value comes from knowing who you are in God’s eyes.  And I believe that is where we should find it, but it has always seemed so abstract to me.  What does that really mean and look like?

I think the answer of how we define ourselves varies for each person.  If you’re single, perhaps you define yourself by how many dates you go on, if you’re in a relationship, or even how many Tinder matches you get (guilty on all counts).  If you’re married, maybe its by how strong your relationship with your spouse seems to be on any given day.  Maybe you place all your value in your work performance (I had a college professor flat out tell me once I needed to define myself by more than just my grades, as I cried in his office over (an unfairly) low test score), or your friend network, or your fashion sense…  (I’ve shared before that I feel completely inadequate to write a fashion blog, so the value I place in myself based on that goes up and down like a roller coaster).

Tim gave an example of his own life where he was, in the same year, voted one of the most popular athletes in America and cut from his team.  Obviously, that had the potential to put him on the aforementioned proverbial roller coaster.  If he derived his value and meaning as an individual from those outside forces, he would have faced an identity crisis that year, as he was forced to choose which definition of himself to believe – that he was a beloved athlete, or that he just wasn’t good enough.

However, Tim doesn’t define himself by how other people see him.  Instead, he is confident in who he is in the Lord, knowing that God has a special purpose for his life, no matter what others may say, think, or do.  And that’s true of all of us.  Whether we are promoted or fired, His plans for us are good, to give us a future and a hope.  No matter if we have 5 facebook friends or 5,000, He promises He will never leave us or forsake us.  If our fashion taste is lauded by InStyle magazine, or bemoaned by Stacy London, God still enjoys our creativity.  And even if every Saturday night is spent at home alone watching Netflix with nary a text message alert, His opinion of us is still that we are lovely.

How are you defining yourself?  This is a journey that I am still on; even as recently as a few weeks ago, one of my friends kindly commented on my (above-average) need for validation, drawing my attention to the fact that I still have a long way to go in understanding God’s love and what that really means for my life.  But, I’m working on it.  I don’t want to be defined any more by outside forces that change with the wind.  Rather, I want to have that peace that comes from knowing you are deeply loved by a God who never changes and knows absolutely everything about you, yet still calls you His own.

Is this something you struggle with?  If so, what are some of the steps you can take to define yourself in a healthy way?  If not currently, but you’ve dealt with this in the past, what were some of the ways you learned to define yourself according to what God says, rather than what the world says?  What is your favorite promise from the Lord about how much He values you and who you are in Him?

Let’s celebrate ourselves today!  Have a good weekend everyone!

1 - patterned dress nude heels(This outfit is completely unrelated to anything else in this post.  I just wanted to have another fashion-related post this week, and I felt like this one needed a picture.)

Lonely Hearts Club

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this (sarcasm font), but I can be a bit dramatic.  My parents used to make fun of me because when I got really mad as a kid, I would literally stomp off to my room, making as much noise as humanly possible. I did this long into high school.

But, sometimes, the dramatic is all that seems to fit the situation, and that’s where I am right now.  It’s been a rough week, y’all.  Turns out, some old emotional wounds I thought were healed, weren’t, and this week, they were reopened, leaving me feeling vulnerable, sad, and physically ill (does your body react to emotional stress, or is that weird?)

I went on a date in hopes of distracting myself; it didn’t work. I ordered cheesy bread for lunch as a way of drowning my sorrows in garlic butter – I only got through about 1/8 of the order.  But, you know what did work?  What always works: going to the Lord.

Before you think I’m super spiritual, I’ll admit that going to God when I’m really upset is not usually my first response.  It should be, as it’s always the most beneficial, but it isn’t.  However, I am pretty disciplined in spending time with Him everyday, so in my regular quiet time earlier this week, I was talking to God about all that was on my heart. In many ways, I had brought this pain upon myself, and I fully expected some sort of punishment (beyond just the hurt I’d self-inflicted), because for some reason, that’s still deep down how I believe God operates.  Only, that wasn’t at all how God operated with me.  Instead, He spoke to me through this verse:

Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
– Psalm 27:14, NKJV

I’ve read those words dozens of times without them meaning much. This time, though, I felt the Holy Spirit encouraging me that He would strengthen my little broken heart.  He saw my tears and instead of saying, “I told you so”, He said, “Come to me, spend time in my presence, and I will heal that heart and make it whole again.”  I usually read “wait on the Lord”, as a command to just keep being patient – the good persevering Christian soldier. But, this time, I read it as a call to bask in God’s presence, as He takes what is broken and puts it back together.

There was no condemnation; just an acknowledgment that my heart mattered. As I was reflecting on this verse, two other verses in Psalms came to mind:

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3

God cares about my broken heart.  When I cry, He cries with me. There are no stipulations to His compassion.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say He only cares about people who are mourning death, or people who have been victimized, or people who are sick. No matter why we grieve, He grieves with us. He cares about each one of us, and the things that are close to our hearts are close to His.

Something that is close to my heart, as you all know well, is Tim Tebow. This may sound ridiculous, but I’m trying to make a point, so stick with me. God (and everyone else) knows I love Timmy, and in the midst of my sadness, God reminded me that He still cares about what I care about, prompting a friend to give me a ticket to hear Tim speak in Knoxville this Sunday. Not only did God not punish or condemn me as I was expecting, He gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do for years

Most likely, Tim will not look out over the congregation and see a divine arrow pointing at my head, indicating that I am the one God has chosen for Him. We probably will not meet at all.  But, still, God knew hearing Tim speak would be really special for me, and I believe He gave me the chance exactly when He did to encourage me, reminding me that He hasn’t forgotten me, He isn’t mad at me, and He cares about my broken heart.

Tim Tebow may not fix my heart, but God can, and He’s showing me little by little just how much He wants to do that.

If your heart is broken for any reason – a relationship, a death, unemployment, or just life not working out like you thought it would – I hope you can be encouraged.  God cares about your heart, He sees your pain, and if you’ll look for it, I know He will show you ways that He is strengthening your heart, as well.

So, now the only question is:

What does one wear to meet a man who dresses like this?!

Tim+Tebow+NFL+Honors+Pepsi+Rookie+Year+xnAnt_ondgOl

So Much Cooler Online

When I lived in Virginia Beach, my friends and I would spend many weekend nights watching New Girl, eating junk food and drinking wine, and making lists ad nauseam of the things men do wrong on their online dating profiles.  You could think we were lame, but if you thought about it just a little longer, I bet you’d actually be really jealous, because honestly, does anything sound more fun than the combination of things I just described?  I think not.

It wasn’t so much that we were making fun of any guys in particular – just the ways they presented themselves, many of which are extremely common among most profiles.  Here are a few examples.

1) The first three pictures are car/gym/bathroom mirror selfies.

2) The first three pictures are him wearing a ball cap and/or sunglasses.  (Everyone looks hotter in sunglasses.)

3) There is only one picture.  It was clearly taken about 10 years ago.  It is pixelated.

4) The next picture is his dog.  And the one after that.  The one after that is his truck or gun.

5) There will almost always be an action shot on the top of a mountain or water skiing.  These will always be from a very far distance.

6) Next, the picture with the girl cropped out (even worse when she isn’t.  Or even worse than that, as one of my friends encountered, when she isn’t and has a mustache and horns drawn on her head).

And last but CERTAINLY not least is my personal favorite: the group shots.  There have been countless times that I really have no idea what a guy looks like because all of his pictures are group shots (or, if he also included an individual photo, it falls into categories 2, 3, 4, or 5 above).  Inevitably in a group, the guy whose profile it is will be the least attractive person in the picture.  I cannot for the life of me figure this out.  Maybe guys don’t analyze their friends’ looks the same way girls do, but in my mind, when you’re trying to put your best foot forward, why would you want to put better looking feet out there with you?

When this happens, I often just ignore the guy’s profile and keep looking.  He may still be attractive.  I mean, in the grand scheme of things, if he’s a 9 and his friends are 10s, I’ll probably find a way to survive.  But, to me, it’s a deeper issue than that.  In a small way, I feel deceived by the picture, like it was a grab bag situation, and the guy was hoping I’d be okay with whatever came out, even if it wasn’t what I was expecting when I started.

I don’t like dishonesty.  If there is one thing I will not put up with it’s lying, and even things like dating profile pictures weigh into that. For this reason, I keep mine current.  I think it’s only fair for a guy to know exactly what he’s getting when he meets me, and I expect the same.  Plus, it boosts my confidence to know that he did see me as I am and still wanted a date, and it saves both of us a lot of awkwardness and embarrassment.

Fortunately, I’ve never gone out with a guy who really looked nothing like his pictures. I would say most had profile pictures that were a good 20 pounds ago (still think that’s lying, but whatever…), but none looked completely different.  However, I know this is a regular occurrence, as several guys have told me they were glad I actually looked like my pictures, and then proceeded to share their horror stories of women who showed up looking nothing like advertised.

And that’s the whole point.  Of course, we want to appear our most attractive whenever we’re embarking on a new dating venture – that’s why we wear makeup, buy well-fitting clothes, invest in cologne and perfume, etc.  But, it’s just not fair to try to lure someone under false pretenses by posting an younger/thinner/heavier/taller/shorter picture.  It’s setting you both up for disappointment, and since everyone wants to find someone to love them exactly for who they are, why start out from a deficit of mistrust and adjusted expectations?  Why not give yourself the best chance by presenting your best you – not a pretend you.

So, that’s my little online dating pep talk for the day – be you!  Pick the photos that make you feel the most confident and most like yourself – but pick the ones which will also represent you accurately, while still in the best light possible.  And if you don’t know what those are, ask your friends!  No one wants to be dating online, but everyone is, so don’t worry – your friends absolutely will not judge you for trying it, and most will probably be very eager to help!

Do any of you have “wow, that was not at all what I thought you looked like” stories?  Or, do you have other photo stereotypes to add to our list?  (We haven’t even talked about written content yet…I guess that will be another post).  Let’s swap craziness!

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